Dark brown bread slices, covered with pate, bacon, herring, hard-boiled eggs, … make up the famous Danish cake Smorrebrod.
Just like Vietnam’s pho, each country in the world has a typical dish that represents the soul and national character of their country. In Denmark, that dish is Smorrebrod (Smørrebrød).
What is Smorrebrod?
Smorrebrod means butter and bread, two important foods to Europeans. But with Smorrebrod the bread is rye bread and in fact this bread is not only butter but attractive and diverse. Currently Smorrebrod is black bread served with cold meat, smoked fish, seafood, cheese, … depending on the preferences and taste of each person eating.
History of Smorrebrod
Smorrebrod appeared in the 19th century and is associated with the lunch of Scandinavian farmers including Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Lunch is the main meal of Scandinavian farmers, so after lunch, they will often take bread to wipe off the food left on the plate and finish it. Over time, instead of using bread to wipe leftovers, food was placed on top of the cake and the name Smorrebrod was born from that.
Smorrebrod’s side dishes are also extremely diverse. Traditional food will have marinated eel (marinerede slide), cucumber, cheese slices, tomatoes, boiled eggs, pate, dozens of types of bacon, hunkhois, fish in tomato sauce, …
All those ingredients will be thinly sliced and then neatly arranged on top of the cake so that it fits and is beautiful. The sauce to serve with Smorrebrod is Remoulade sauce, Italiensk salad dressing consisting of a combination of ingredients such as asparagus, mayonnaise, beans, boiled carrots or other sauces.
In order for the cake to be enjoyed without being bored, the Danes will choose pickled cucumbers, thinly sliced or fragrant cucumbers to accompany them. It is thanks to that layer of pickles that the Smorrebrod cake will be less greasy and become much more delicious.
An interesting thing about Smorrebrod is that instead of sandwiching an extra layer of bread on top of the filling to fix the filling in the middle, this dish only has 1 slice of bread and is covered directly. That’s why Smorrebrod is also known as an open sandwich. And for that reason, bread making Smorrebrod also needs its own conditions.
Smorrebrod often uses rye bread not only because it’s healthy, but also because even though it’s thinly sliced, it doesn’t fall apart and is firm enough for the filling to stay stable. If you want to use white bread, you need to bake it to a crispy golden color before placing the filling on top.
Not only using ingredients to make the cake more attractive, but the combination makes the cakes much more beautiful and harmonious. Even, many people when looking at Smorrebrod cakes will immediately think of a certain work of art. So surely, there are many people who buy it and just dare to sit and watch but don’t have the heart to eat it.
For people in Denmark, Smorrebrod is an indispensable dish in their daily meals. Even the tourists who come here are also very fond of this extremely attractive cake. From budget restaurants to high-end hotels in Denmark, they all serve this cake in many different forms.
If you have the opportunity to visit Denmark, try once to taste an open sandwich to be able to fully feel and understand more about the culinary beauty of this place!